National Current Affairs - 2019

Latest India Current Affairs and Current Affairs related to Government policy, polity and administration in India. India’s National Current Affairs updates for 2018.

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WhatsApp Launches Tip Line to curb Fake News

Social Media Platform WhatsApp has launched an India-focused fact-checking feature to combat fake news and rumours starting with the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.

Curbing Fake News

  • Users can check the authenticity of the information or rumours received on the platform by reporting the forward to the WhatsApp number +91-9643-000-888.
  • The response will indicate if the information is classified as ‘true’, ‘false’, ‘misleading’, ‘disputed’ or ‘out of scope’, and include any other related information.
  • Pictures, video links or texts in Hindi, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam and English will be reviewed by WhatsApp.
  • This tip line feature has been developed by WhatsApp in collaboration with India-based media skilling startup PROTO.
  • The tip line feature will help to create a database of rumours to study misinformation during elections as part of a research project commissioned and assisted by WhatsApp.

As more data flows in, WhatsApp will be able to identify the most susceptible or affected issues, locations, languages, regions, etc. The verification reports Whatsapp sends back will encourage the users to send more signals for analysis.

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Government Proposes Committees to decide on complaints against CIC and ICs

The government has proposed setting up bureaucrat-led committees that would sit and decide on complaints against the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioners (ICs).

The government has proposed setting up of two committees:

  • One to receive and decide on complaints against the CIC. The committee would include the Cabinet Secretary; Secretary, DoPT; and a retired CIC.
  • Second one for complaints against Information Commissioners. The committee would comprise of Secretary (Coordination) in the Cabinet Secretariat; Secretary, DoPT; and a retired IC.

Why the move is opposed?

Section 14 (1) of the RTI Act states that Commissioners can be removed only by the President on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity based on the reference made to the Supreme Court by the President.

Further Section 14 (3) lists the other grounds for removal which includes:

  • If he/she is adjudged an insolvent,
  • Has been convicted of an offence which involves moral turpitude.
  • Engages during his/her term of office in any paid employment outside.
  • Is unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body; or
  • Has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as the CIC or an IC.

The bureaucrat dominated committee proposed by the government is seen as an attempt to skew checks and balances in favour of the political executive. The committee is also criticised as an attempt by the political dispensation to influence the working of the ICs and it will take away the independence of an institution that has served the citizen’s demand for more transparency in the government by making the Commission more vulnerable to government pressure.

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